Jesse Jr. opens DNC convention

Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), a strong backer of the Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign, catalogued the events leading up to the Thursday nomination of Obama for the Democratic ticket as a near mountaintop moment.

Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), a strong backer of Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign, catalogued the events leading up to the Thursday nomination of Obama for the Democratic ticket as a near mountaintop moment.

Jackson mounted the stage on the opening night of the Democratic National Convention Aug. 25 boldly declaring that the gathering in Denver is the first of its kind to evoke the message of hope and brotherhood that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. brought.

“I’m sure Dr. King is looking down on us here in Denver, noting that this is the first political convention in history to take place within sight of his mountaintop,” Jackson said. "On the day President Johnson submitted the Voting Rights Act to Congress, he said, ‘At times, history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom.’"

Jackson, son of civil rights leader Rev Jesse Jackson Sr., further delved into the significance of the Obama candidacy and its relation to the Civil Rights Movement.

“So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was at Appomattox. So it was in Selma, Alabama,” Congressman Jackson said. “Tonight, I would like to add, and so it shall be in Denver, Colorado, with the nomination of Barack Obama to be President of the United States.”

The younger Jackson said it is a remarkable thing that Obama, who came to the Democratic convention four years ago as keynote speaker, would return this time around the Democratic Party’s nominee for president.

“But for those of us who’ve known Barack over his decade in public office in Illinois, the yearning for change, the hunger for unity that he’s tapped across the country has a familiar ring,” Jackson said. “I remember when Barack first decided to run for the United States Senate. He’d had a remarkable career in the state Senate, reaching across the aisle to put a tax cut into the pockets of working families, to expand health care for more children and parents, and to take on the lobbyists who had so much influence in Springfield.”

Underscoring the historic nature of the convention, Jackson urged his “fellow Democrats” to action.

“I grew up with the lessons of another generation, my father’s generation. I know his stories of struggle and sacrifice, of fear and division. I know America is still a place where dreams are too often deferred and opportunities too often denied,” Congressman Jackson said.“But here’s what I also know. I know that while America may not be perfect, our union can always be perfected. I know what we can achieve when good people with strong convictions come together around a common purpose. And I know what a great leader can do to help us find common ground. America, we need such a leader today, a leader who can heal the wounds of the last eight years, a leader who knows that what unites us is greater than what divides us, and that America is at its strongest when hard work is rewarded and all of our dreams are within reach. I know Barack Obama. I’ve seen his leadership.”

Bankole Thompson, Senior Editor of the Michigan Chronicle, is covering the convention in Denver.

Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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